There is the allegedcronyism and corruption. Then there was thephoto homage to himself and thegrand manner style portrait. Today fromWaPo we also learn that Alphonso Jackson “made a show” of having a chef at HUD. And he liked security…”Though all Cabinet members are entitled to security, some have eschewed the expense. Jackson sought a full-time detail.” But to top it off we now learn that Alphonso was crappy at his job. (well apparent successful fealty to Bush’s plans aside…crappy crafting of policy, harmful for us)
WaPo looks at how Jackson “encouraged policies that threatened to exacerbate the mortgage crisis,
according to interviews with more than 30 current and former HUD
officials and housing experts, and a review of numerous HUD documents
In the policy arena, Jackson quickly made known his loyalty to Bush and
his determination to help increase the number of U.S. homeowners by at
least 5 million. Loans by FHA-approved lenders accounted for less than
10 percent of the overall market in the past five years, but its loan
programs were supposed to be targeted to low- and moderate-income
individuals, many of them first-time buyers.
In 2006, Jackson proposed plans to modernize the FHA lending process. Backed by theWhite House,
his proposal would allow FHA lenders to offer loans with no down
payment, eliminating the long-standing 3 percent minimum. Lenders also
could increase the size of the loan to cover the median home price in
high-cost areas. High-risk borrowers could qualify by agreeing to pay
Jackson said the goals were to encourage first-time home buyers and to
help the FHA compete with the booming subprime market. In an online
White House forum in 2007, he said the FHA “is undergoing a historic
transformation to give homebuyers who do not qualify for prime
financing a better alternative to high-cost, high-risk loan products.”
But Inspector General Kenneth Donohue chided Jackson and FHA CommissionerBrian Montgomery, a former White House political aide with no previous housing experience. Testifying onCapitol Hill
in March 2007, Donohue agreed that the FHA needed changes to help
working families, but not to mimic subprime lenders. He said some of
the changes could distract the FHA from its affordable-housing mission
while helping government-backed lenders reach high-end buyers.
He also expressed concern that Jackson’s proposals would do nothing to
detect abuse and fraud. At the time, the FHA monitored 6 to 7 percent
of the loans in its portfolio.
Jackson also issued a rule allowing FHA lenders more self-policing.
Under the lender insurance rule that HUD implemented in 2006, lenders
could endorse FHA loans without prior review and no longer had to
submit loan paperwork to HUD. The agency’s inspector general and theFBI
objected, and HUD’s office of general counsel registered concern
because detecting fraud would be more difficult without lenders’
Donohue warned the Senate that the rule “permits those with the
potential to perpetrate fraud upon the insurance fund” to keep the
evidence of a crime.
Inside HUD, numerous staffers said, Jackson made clear that he believed
overregulating and investigating mortgage lenders could harm the
president’s homeownership goals.
On Jan. 4, 2006, the U.S. attorney inDetroit
announced what was then the largest mortgage fraud case ever filed.
Based on a HUD audit, law enforcement officers found a pattern of
falsified mortgage documents byABN Amro, one of the largest FHA-approved mortgage lenders. The company agreed to pay $41 million in a civil settlement.
Jackson and Montgomery, according to three current and former
government officials familiar with the matter, reacted coolly to the
historic settlement. Both complained to their staffs that punishing FHA
lenders could backfire if they wanted those lenders’ help in increasing
HUD has a standing agreement to refer cases to its inspector general
when it suspects mortgage fraud. But an audit by that office of one
sample of recent records found that HUD did not refer more than
two-thirds of the potentially fraudulent FHA mortgage loans it
“If all of the regulators, including HUD, had looked specifically at
mortgage fraud, looking at fair lending and fair housing in a more
proactive way, the crisis might have not been as bad,” Berenbaum said.
Only one thing to say…Heckuva JobFuckmook